Monday, August 31, 2020

Mother Sun

I'm a huge Judas Priest fan, and while I wouldn't call my self a Priest historian by any stretch, I think that I know my shit when it comes to the band. Yet, a few weeks ago I managed to get quite the surprise when someone online mentioned the song Mother Sun that showed up in a few of their early live sets but was never recorded in the studio. There was some talk of bootleg copies of the song, so I started my hunt. I quickly found that it had been uploaded to youtube, and a quick search of discogs turned up the Mother Sun bootleg collection of rare live and studio recordings.

Honestly, the bootleg recording of the song isn't that impressive. I mean I'm a huge fan of the first couple Priest records, but this live recording of Mother Sun from 1975 is a bit shaky and rough to listen to. The band Portrait recently recorded a cover version of the song, and their version is actually quite a bit better. Still, I needed the Priest live version in my collection, so I grabbed the bootleg LP.

As a whole, this is a really good bootleg. Side one is just a killer recording of Priest live in the BBC studio from 1978. That opening riff for White Heat, Red Hot is fucking killer and it is nice to hear a live version of Starbreaker. Side two has the two songs that the band recorded for the Old Grey Whistle Test...and while I've seen the live videos for those songs on youtube, it is cool to have them here.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Peace Of Mindforce

No doubt, the Mindforce album from a couple years ago was an absolute banger. Excalibur still holds up and is in regular rotation in my playlists...but I was still able to maintain a level of self restraint and not buy multiple copies. One first press copy was enough for me...until Triple B played to my weakness with a different cover design.

Initially, I didn't think too much of the variation on the artwork, but now that I've sat with it for a couple of weeks, I'm liking it more and more, and I think it is a nice compliment to the original.

Of course the question now is, am I satisfied with two copies of this album, or do I want more? One first press copy made sense, but a copy from the first and fourth pressing? That just seems weird.

Green with purple splatter is limited to 300 for the fourth press.

Outside of the new cover artwork and layout, the biggest draw for me to pick this up was the bonus flexi with the song Man Of Peace taken from the original Excalibur sessions but not included on the LP. It is cool to have it here, although the flexi format is kind of lame and a total pain in the ass to put on the turntable for one song.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Insight And Reflection

When I started getting into hardcore in the early 90's, Victory Records was one of the labels to watch, and at some point I picked up the Insight 7 inch, What Will It Take. That record was amazing, and I placed Insight on equal footing as bands like Insted, Outspoken and Endpoint. When I received a newsletter from a distro that was selling an Insight record called Standing Strong, I quickly dropped some cash into an envelope to order a copy. Sure the record was a bit more expensive than I was used to paying for a 7 inch, but I loved Insight and I was prepared to pay the money to get some new songs by the band. Well, those were the good old mailorder days, and information on hardcore bands didn't generally travel all the way north of Boston to Maine, so I had no idea that Standing Strong was the original record, and that Victory had repackaged and renamed the record when they released it. I bought records, but I wasn't a collector at the time, so I was kind of disappointed when I discovered that there weren't any new songs when the record arrived. Same thing happened when I bought a Chain of Strength record named Confusion. Fuck. It sucked getting burned like that. Ha ha ha.

Here we are 30 years later, and Victory is going by the name Mission Two Entertainment and repackaging that Insight record again...except this time it is included in with the band's full discography. In addition to the original six songs from the Insight 7 inch, we also get the tracks from the Only The Strong and Voice Of Thousands comps, a live set from '89, plus four new songs.

The new songs are ones that Insight had been working on back in '89 for an album that never happened...and they are the only reason that I was excited to buy this new record. It is pretty cool to see these same four guys getting back together to properly record those songs and release them here. Judging from the video the band did for the song Take It Back, Insight still have some important shit to say and the delivery is passionate.

Nice packaging here with a few liner notes on the history of the band and a ton of old photos.

168 pressed on red and black swirl vinyl.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Hot Girls At Work

This may be the oddest post I've even put up on this blog. In fact, I considered not even doing it at all since it is way off my regularly beaten path of punk, hardcore, metal and rock. In the end, this is my blog and I do it as a document to my own record collecting history, so fuck it, here it is.

The past couple of years I've been more and more nostalgic for that music from my youth. I spent a good deal of time last year listening to those bands that really introduced me to heavy metal around 1983 or so, and recently I've slipped back even those early 80's MTV days. I was a kid of that time period, and at 11 and 12 years old, I lived and died by the radio and music videos. As a young kid, secluded in Maine, songs from Billy Idol and Joan Jett had some swagger and attitude, and I was drawn to that stuff...but all the music from that time period left such an imprint on my brain, and lately I find that I want to immerse myself in the music of those days. I found a playlist on Spotify called Early MTV (80's Hits), and I've been having a blast revisiting old songs that I would watch the video for over and over back in the day. Even the stuff that I didn't really care for back then has been so much fun to listen to again these days.

I was having such a great time listening to those old songs, and while I wasn't interested in checking out the full albums from those bands, the idea of picking up some of the singles did start to take root in my brain. Initially, I figured that I'd only pick them up if I saw them out in wild...but with all the record shops closed, and the itch growing more intense for some of these singles, I started to check to see what Discogs had available and toyed with the idea of only picking them up if I could find them cheap...and then the obsession kicked up a notch when I started to look into what the Japanese singles looked like...

Eleven year old Mike was a big fan of Loverboy. These guys were the coolest, and the video for Hot Girls In Love, complete with boys wearing bandana headbands and hot blondes driving fast cars...fuck yes, it was everything that this pre-teen boy needed. This was one of the gateway bands that set me down the path to search for heavier and heavier music. When I started wondering where I should start when collecting my "MTV singles", Loverboy was one of the bands that I had my sights on.

Another Loverboy single that I picked up was The Kid Is Hot Tonight. This was another killer song that was just massive for me at the time. No one was cooler than Mike Reno. You better fucking believe it.

This single didn't get a Japanese pressing, so I was content with the regular US picture sleeve pressing.

Men At Work were another favorite for me in the early 80's, before I discovered hard rock and metal. By the time their second album, Cargo, came out in '83, I was starting to move on from that kind of pop, so when the song Overkill popped up on the MTV spotify playlist, I wasn't initially familiar with it. Once the song started to kick in, I started to vaguely remember it, and by the time the song was finished I was fucking loving it. Wow. I was not expecting to enjoy that as much as I did. Goddamn. I kept returning to the song, and loved it with each spin. Time to buy the record.

I was feeling pretty good about my initial haul of MTV singles, but man, that Overkill song really had me hooked, and since I remember how much I loved the early Men At Work songs in '81, I decided to grab Who Can It Be Now to finish off this run. I must have watched that video 100 times when we got MTV, and Colin Hay's lazy eye freaked me out every damn time. Classic!

Picking up these four singles was fun, and I don't know how much time and money I want to end up sinking into this dumb project...but still, I want more.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

We Still Believe In Ecostrike

Ecostrike are one of my favorite current hardcore bands these days, so I had no doubt that their new album, The Truth We Still Believe, was going to be great. Even though I was eagerly anticipating this record, I still somehow fucked up and missed when the preorders went up, and by the time I got there, the colored vinyl pinwheel pressing was already sold out.

When I heard the first Ecostrike record back in 2017, it really reminded me of early Earth Crisis 7 inches, and then the Voice Of Strength album in 2018 had some strong One Truth era Strife vibes to it, so I was excited to see what the band would deliver with their latest album. The Truth We Still Believe isn't that big of a departure from what Ecostrike was doing previously. Surprisingly the band haven't followed the metal direction that Earth Crisis and Strife took, and instead they stay firmly in that pocket of hardcore...and that is a good thing. This will easily be one of my favorite new hardcore albums this year.

300 pressed on blue with orange splatter vinyl.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Primitive Splatter Blast

Triple B had an amazing run last year. They had their fair share of clunkers, but goddamn, I still added around nine of their new releases and many of them were my favorite records of the year. For 2020, I've been a bit underwhelmed with what Triple B has been putting out. Sure they have dropped a couple of really great records this year, and we still have plenty of time for them to release something that gets me fired up, so we will see how the rest of the year shakes out.

I have had zero interest in some of the things that Triple B have released lately, so I didn't have high expectations when they announced they were releasing a record from some band named Primitive Blast. I'd never heard of them, but figured that I'd still give it a chance. Okay, this is a step in the right direction. Coming from Australia, Primitive Blast hit hard with a sound that reminds me of Rival Mob or Think I Care...not nearly as good as those bands, but in that vein. Still, it was good enough for me to drop the money for this six song EP...or maybe I was just desperate to buy a new hardcore record.

200 pressed on white with black splatter one sided 12 inch.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Rainbow In the Twelve Inch

I've had a blast picking up a bunch of singles this year. Just total mindless fun with no direction. It kind of reminds me of those days when I was buying multiple pressings for every new record. Shit was pointless, but goddamn, it was fun while I was doing it.

I was recently scrolling through my Instagram feed, and saw that someone had posted a photo of the first Dio single in both 7 inch and 12 inch formats, and suddenly it dawned on me, "hot damn, I still have a bunch of Dio singles that I still need". A quick trip to Discogs uncovered a US seller with the UK pressing of the Rainbow In The Dark 12 inch.

I'm kind of shocked that it has taken me this long to finally grab the record for this. I need to get to work on some other Dio singles soon!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Stiff Upper Lip

After crossing off a big ticket AC/DC album earlier this year, and then a couple really cool singles, I was itching to keep things rolling. When collecting AC/DC records, you have to choose which path you want to take. Do you want to just get their albums onto your shelf and not break a sweat, or do you want to be a fucking collector.

When I started looking to pick up a copy of Stiff Upper Lip, it was tempting to make an easy run at the reissue. No doubt the reissue looks kind of cool with the printed inner sleeve full of photos from that era as well a nice written bio on the record, but I didn't like the look of the center label, so like an idiot, I decided to go with the original pressing...and since Stiff Upper Lip was originally released in 2000, when CD was king, and only Europe bothered to press it on vinyl in limited quantities. So I basically spent an additional $80 on an original pressing just because I didn't like the look of the reissue center labels.

This record tends to get kicked around by AC/DC fans, as most of them seem to look down their noses at it. I don't understand the hate. I fucking love this album and for some reason I've been obsessing over it this year. I fully expect that by the time December rolls around, Stiff Upper Lip will be one of the albums that I've listened to the most this obviously the time was right to finally buy the vinyl.

Yeah, the printed inner sleeve for the original isn't as slick as the reissue, but I do love the image of the fist in the air. Worth every dollar spent.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Can't Live Without Singles

I've stepped up my Scorpions game this year and started chasing Japanese pressings for their albums. It has been a lot of fun crossing a few of them off the list, and it has lead to me listening to them quite a bit this summer. When I was recently picking up some Whitesnake records from an eBay seller, and I noticed that they also had a Scorpions single available, I didn't hesitate to add it to my cart. The obsession over singles keeps rolling on...

The main thing that attracted me to this single for Can't Live Without You was that it was on clear vinyl. There isn't anything special about colored vinyl being pressed these days, as you expect that records will be released on six different colors...but back in the 80's, when vinyl was king, you most likely only got black vinyl. So when I saw this Scorpions single from 1982 on clear vinyl, it was something different for the time, and I scooped it up.

Goddamn. This single looks great!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Here Comes Trouble In 2020

It has been a weird fucking year, and I'm so tired of people and their stupidity. Coronavirus and people that refuse to wear a mask...racist bullshit and police attacks on Black Lives Matter protesters...every single fucking Trump supporter...I'm fucking done. It's exhausting, and the only upside to COVID quarantining is that I don't have to go outside very often and deal with these jackwads. Through all of this, you know what makes me happy? David Coverdale makes me happy. That's right. I can't get enough of Whitesnake and the Coverdale era of Deep Purple. Those albums cleanse my mind and helps me forget all of that bullshit for a while.

Earlier this year, I picked up the US pressing for Whitesnake's first album, Snakebite, and I was having such a good time spinning that record that I decided to track down a copy of the band's second album, Trouble. Damn. This record is magic and totally takes the edge off of a shit day.

The US pressing had a slick full color front cover, but there was something more attractive for me to grab the original UK pressing with that white cover. Sure it doesn't look as professional as the US pressing, but I think that is why I gravitate towards it...I dig the rough, thrown together look of that cover.

When I was picking up the Trouble album, the UK seller also had a Whitesnake single that I wanted to grab as well, but eBay wouldn't let me combine the shipping for them. I messaged the seller and he had to cancel my original order, and then combine the records into a single listing so that I could click Buy It Now. What a pain in the ass. Discogs is so much easier to use.

This is an odd single that covers three songs from three different albums. Fool For Your Loving from Ready An' Willing, Mean Business from Lovehunter, and then Don't Mess With Me from Trouble.

While I've been interested in collecting singles lately, the thing that attracted me to this one was that the seller listed that it came with a "luminous sleeve". I was't exactly sure what that meant, but for few bucks I figured that I'd grab it and find out. Wow. This record is 40 years old and still glows in the dark like a motherfucker. I figured that the luminous ink would have long gone bad, so I was stunned to see how great this glow still looks in the dark.

Friday, August 07, 2020

As Friends Muck

Earlier this year, No Echo posted an article about As Friends Rust and previewed their first new song in nearly 20 years. I loved this band during their run in the early 2000's, but I didn't have high expectations for their new songs in 2020. I was skeptical that they would still have that same spark that attracted me to the band back in the day, but after checking out Up From The Muck, I was eager to preorder the new record.

Two songs here on this 7 inch, and As Friends Rust haven't missed a step. This record is great and it has me dusting off the older records from the band, and I've been listening to this shit on repeat lately.

Because this is 2020, there are a ridiculous number of pressings for this 7 inch. Everyone seems to have their own limited pressing...Cortex, Revelation, Cargo (?), and one exclusive to the band. The record was released a month ago and it is already in it's third pressing. Glad I don't try to keep up with this bullshit anymore, and I stuck with the yellow vinyl from REV. Limited to 100.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Rhino Gray 9mm

I'd never listened to Orange 9mm when Rev announced that they were reissuing their 1994 EP this year, but for some reason it put the thought in my head that maybe it was time to finally check the band out.

How I never managed to hear this band back when I had a steady diet of Fugazi and Quicksand, is beyond me. When I finally took the time to listen to the songs on this EP, I immediately fell in love and quickly placed an order for the reissue. I love the groove on this EP and I can't help but bounce along to these songs. Got to love 90's hardcore.

500 pressed on "rhino gray" colored vinyl.

Honestly, I'm not too impressed with the colored vinyl as it could easily be mistaken for black vinyl at a quick glance. At this point I wish that I'd just invested in an orange or green first pressing. Oh well, I'm still fucking stoked to have finally discovered this band in 2020.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Night Demons Are Out There

Night Demon had already released two 7 inch singles this year, and when I heard that another one was coming down the pike, I was primed and ready to jump on it. Seriously, the singles for Empire Falls and Kill The Pain have ruled, and I was looking forward to more from the band. I'm not sure if the circumstances of COVID-19 pushed the band to release a series of singles instead of an album, but whatever the reason, it has been a blast to chase them down when they drop.

The single for Are You Out There is a bit more of a rocker compared to the previous blasts of heavy metal, but seeing as it is a tribute to, and inspired by Thin Lizzy, that rock sound fits the song perfectly. After picking up a couple of Thin Lizzy records recently, this single comes at a perfect time.

As with the other two singles from Night Demon, the b-side is a cover, and this time around they obviously crank out a Lizzy song. The cover art for this 7 inch is a nice nod to Lizzy's Black Rose album, but for a cover song they do The Sun Goes Down from Thunder And Lightning. Man, the band do a great version of this song and really make it their own. Well done.

Just like the other singles, the band recorded a behind the scenes video for the recording of these two songs. I really get a kick out of these things, and brings my appreciation for the band to another level.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Japanese Virgin

To start 2020, I put the Japanese pressing of Taken By Force from Scorpions on my Top 10 Want List for the year. I had become obsessed with the original cover that ended up being censored, and I wanted that shit in my collection. The OBI strip was a very cool bonus. Once I had that record in my hands, suddenly I wanted all of my Scorpions records to be Japanese pressings.

I don't own all the Scorpions albums that I'd like to have in my collection, and most of the ones that I have are US or German pressings, but there is just something cool about the prospect of lining up all those OBI strips. At some point, I'm going to have to upgrade those albums that I own that aren't Japanese pressings.

One of the bigger holes in my Scorpions collection was their Virgin Killer record. I love that album, but I've been on the fence if I wanted to grab a pressing with that original cover featuring the prepubescent girl. Sure it tends to offend people, but come on guys, what are you going to do, settle for that a censored cover? Whatever. Give me that original cover. I'm not going to lie...I did have to secretly open the box when it arrived and quickly get that shit into my music room, away from the eyes of my family. I have no problem owning this, but they don't need to know that I have no problem owning this.

Okay, I got confused when I was buying this on eBay, and thought this was a first pressing. I wasn't paying close attention to the OBI differences, and it turns out that this was the '82 reissue and not the '77 pressing. Oh well, the price for each is comparable, so I'm not going to sweat it.

Included with the Virgin Killer album, the seller also had a Japanese pressing of the Best Of Scorpions. I don't typically care about Best Of records, but with a cover that features some kind of spotlight scorpion shooting a laser from a tanned and glistening woman's ass, I guess I'll get down with that.

Originally released in '79, this compilation basically covers the three album stretch of In Trance, Virgin Killer and Taken By the best song from Fly To The Rainbow. It is a solid collection.